Monday, December 21, 2009

A short review of “Three Rings”

Last May, I learned that one of my essays was being reviewed in the new issue of Hither Shore, then still forthcoming. That issue (Volume 5) is now in print, and most of it is available on Google Books. Having duly perused it, I also found a review in English of Tolkien Studies, Volume 5 (2008) by Thomas Honegger (running on pages 259–62), in which my essay, “Three Rings for—Whom Exactly? And Why? Justifying the Disposition of the Three Elven Rings” received the following favorable comments:
Lastly, Jason Fisher provides a straighforward study of the origin of the three elven rings. He points out that the final names and attributions to their wearers were given relatively late (first galley proofs). He establishes likely reasons for Tolkien allocating the ring of fire to Gandalf, the ring of air to Elrond, and the ring of water to Galadriel and shows how he strengthens the bond between wearer and ring by means of textual allusions. Finally, Fisher unearths a nice piece of ‘Tolkienian depth’ by paralleling the fate of the three silmarils — which find their final resting-places in the sky, the ocean, and the fires of the earth, respectively — with the three elven rings, so that it may indeed by not surprising that Elrond, the descendant of Eärendil who ‘carries’ one of the silmarils across the sky each night, is given the ring of air. (p. 261, ego-stroking emphasis added :)
It’s so nice to be read! My thanks to Thomas for the review.


  1. Thanks very much for the pointer -- I'll get the print copy of Hither Shore through the UA library as soon as I can.

  2. It is always a distinct pleasure to read your essays, Mr. Fisher. :)
    And I am not being polite, politeness is not one of my great qualities, I'm afraid; rather, that is the truth.

  3. Eva, thank you so much! What a wonderful thing to say! And all the moreso because it’s true, hahae. :) I’m working on some new research now and should have some interesting things to say again very soon. In the meantime, I will continue with the news and announcements. Thank you again for the compliment.

  4. Harm J. Schelhaas12/30/2009 3:25 PM

    Well, the idea was not new. I managed to unearth this remark of myself on Minas Tirith:;f=17;t=000225;p=2#000028

  5. Harm J. Schelhaas12/30/2009 3:26 PM

    The idea of the link between the three Rings and the three Silmarili, I meant, of course.

  6. Harm, yes, I’m sure others have realized the connection before. My own notes on the “Three Rings” essay date to September 2005, just about a month before the forum comments you linked to (above). The connection itself had been knocking around in my brain for some time before that, but I can’t recall how long. But certainly this same thought has occurred to many readers, probably going back decades. So far as I know, it has not appeared in print before, unless maybe in one of the many ephemeral and not-widely-circulated (or indexed) publications that have come and gone over the years. If you are aware of a previous instance in print, I would certainly appreciate hearing about it. :)

  7. Harm J. Schelhaas1/02/2010 7:46 AM

    I have no recollection that I've seen it in print before, but it is a connection that I have been making before I posted it on Minas Tirith, which I had at that moment just joined. I had already posted it on the old Ainulindalë-forum of Unquendor, the one that came before the present one that you know, where we had a long discussion about the relationship between the Three Rings and the four elements (Q: Why is there no Ring of Earth? my A: That is the One Ring). The old Ainulindalë-forum is unavailable now (there is a backup going round in Unquendor, but I haven't been able to access it) - maybe in the wayback machine.

    I think yours is probably the first appearance in print.